Match made in Blackpool

Picture Martin Bostock'30th anniversary of Roy and Debbie McMillan, and Paul and Julie Longbottom all meeting in Blackpool.  Both couples have been married for 25 years after meeting at the Pleasure Beach.
Picture Martin Bostock'30th anniversary of Roy and Debbie McMillan, and Paul and Julie Longbottom all meeting in Blackpool. Both couples have been married for 25 years after meeting at the Pleasure Beach.
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Roy McMillan and Paul Longbottom’s luck was in when they sat down to play the Arabian Derby on a rainy summer day in Blackpool, back in 1983.

After a lads holiday in the resort the duo, from Mirfield and Bradford respectively, decided to cash in their tokens for prizes on the game at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

But they never banked on walking away with their wives-to-be...as well as a Snoopy teddy each.

Now 30 years on they are back in the resort celebrating the anniversary of the day they met the loves of their lives.

For also playing the game that day were friends Debbie and Julie, both on holiday with family from Barnsley.

Roy, 51, said: “It was very busy with only two spaces left to play, these just happened to be either side of Debbie and Julie, so we sat down.

“We got talking, as you do, then went into the Carousel Bar and were in there most of the night.”

It was love at first sight for Julie, 47, who celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with Paul in April this year.

She said: “Paul had a Tetley tea hat on and sunglasses even though it was chucking down.

“As daft as he looked, he still looked handsome.

“I thought he was far too good for me.”

Debbie, 46, and Roy celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last October.

She said: “I didn’t fancy Roy straight off – he had a cigarette and nearly burnt my coat.

“Then we were guessing their names and we just got on like a house on fire.”

The men, both maintenance engineers, waved the girls off on a bus out of Blackpool the next day but kept in touch, and went for a Sunday roast at Julie’s parents’ house the following weekend.

Roy said: “The rest is history.”

Since the chance meeting each couple has had a son and a daughter and also a granddaughter each.

And they continue to holiday in the resort regularly, as a foursome and with their own families.

The couples are this week enjoying a Blackpool mini-break, revisiting places where they first spent time together.

Debbie added: “People can’t believe we’re still together. It was just fate.”

But Julie is less surprised by the encounter, after two of her sisters also met their husbands while in the seaside resort.

She added: “We’ve a lot of fond memories of Blackpool, we love it here.”